Commission begins study of barriers to affordable housing in Maine communities

A new 15-member commission will meet for the first time this week to begin studying how local land-use and zoning laws may prevent affordable housing development in Maine communities.

The Commission to Increase Housing Opportunities in Maine by Studying Zoning and Land Use Restrictions was created with the passage of a bill sponsored by House Speaker Ryan Fecteau to identify systemic issues holding Maine back from building and renovating more affordable housing. The commission’s first meeting will be held Thursday at the State House.

“Maine is facing an affordable housing crisis,” Fecteau said in a written statement announcing the commission members Tuesday. “Our work is about cutting the red tape standing in the way of building and revitalizing more affordable housing here in Maine. In too many municipalities, a web of various zoning and land use ordinances and state laws, some decades old, are preventing sensible affordable housing projects — big and small — from coming to fruition. We aren’t only thinking of erecting new housing; we hope to explore ways to incentivize the revitalization of buildings and housing stock that already exists across Maine.”

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